Work. Before the pandemic, we all dreaded sitting in traffic for two hours on a daily morning commute with the final destination being a cramped cubicle. Today, that almost sounds like heaven.
Being stuck inside during this pandemic has been hard on our lives in many different ways. Even for those fortunate enough to have a job that allows them to work from home, it can be a real challenge staying productive. In what’s been a tough year, we’ve learned a few things that might help make the final stretch a bit easier. So, here are a few tips for everyone working from home.
Take Short Breaks
Before you get too excited, I have to put an emphasis on the word ‘short’. When you’re working for hours at a time, it can be difficult to stay fully attentive throughout. Especially when you’re at home and have little to no change of scenery, time can fly by quickly and put you in a mental rut.
That’s why several studies have found that taking breaks at work can actually help improve your productivity. The science shows that there are two effective ways to go about this:
1) Taking multiple short breaks throughout the day, ~10 minutes every hour
2) Taking one or two long breaks, ~30 minutes every three hours.
My advice: experiment and find what works for you. These are general suggestions that you can take, fine tune, and use for yourself as efficiently as possible. Just make sure that above all else, your goal is staying productive!
When taking breaks, prioritize exercise. Whether it’s going for a walk, doing some jumping jacks in your room, or even jogging in place, exercise is pivotal for a healthy mind and a healthy body. According to a study, “Exercise raises your energy levels, combats stress, battles fatigue and improves general well-being. When you feel happier and energized you’re more efficient and effective at all tasks in life.”
Sometimes when you’re stuck on a particular project, it’s because your brain hasn’t been physically stimulated. By exercising, you increase the flow of oxygen going to your brain, helping you think and act better. If that’s not enough, you will also relieve tension and enter a calmer mental space.
Stay hydrated while exercising, and you might start seeing results immediately.
Clean Your Room
I know. Your mom told you this dozens of times a day growing up and it never worked. Well I’m here to tell you now, mom was right. Don’t take it from me or even from mom, because according to researchers at Princeton University, “a clean, organized environment produces better focus. When an environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus.”
Your working space is a reflection of your state of mind. The messier your work space gets, the harder it becomes for you to focus. Depending on how disorganized your workspace is, cleaning can be quite the daunting task. That’s why like most things, it’s important to start by taking a few baby steps.
First things first, declutter. All those random knick-knacks that you’ve been attached to for way too long? Throw them out. And when you decide you can’t throw them away because you’re still too attached, get a nostalgia box ready.
You don’t want old memories distracting you when you’re trying to focus on the present, so put them away for a rainy day and allow yourself to be in the moment. Then once you’re decluttered, if you haven’t already, set a single space in your house or your room where you can be unbothered.
Your room doesn’t have to be spotless, just organized. A litmus test to see if you’ve done a good job is whether or not you would be willing to let a special someone you’ve been eyeing, see your room. If so, you’re ready to go!
Design Your Space for Success
As an extension of cleaning your room, make sure that your work space is modern and convenient. The desk you work at, the desk chair you sit on, even the colors of your room, all play an important part of designing an ideal home office.
Carefully consider what you’re putting into your workspace, because that will contribute to what you get out of it. Here are a couple of links that can help you make the right design choices:
Of course, you can’t be expected to get things right the first time. Almost no one does. So if you’re looking for flexibility when designing your space, consider rental furniture as an option. By doing so, you can get a hands-on look at what furniture fits your workspace, and more importantly, what doesn’t.
Furniture can be an expensive hassle, but it doesn’t have to be! Check out some of Inhabitr’s Office Furniture Sets for a place to get started on affordable furniture. And if you love your furniture more than just for a rental, our rent to own furniture options allow you to keep it forever (or as long as you want). Our two-day delivery lets you get started as soon as possible.
So take control of your home office today and strive for a more productive tomorrow.